Stories of the Cities by the Sea



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Since the Industrial Revolution, cities or metropolises have acquired predominance in the global economy due to their preeminence as centers of finance and commerce, religious centers and as seats of administration. The changing ideology of the City and the Country in England was particularly important because the process of colonization saw the transfer of these ideas onto the colonized nations, which influenced their development. With colonization and other forms of globalization, the experience of modernity transcended national and ethnic lines, but the interpretation of this global urban culture differed amongst the various metropolises due to differences in social, political, cultural and religious histories. In this study, I focus on works of fiction such as novels and short stories dedicated to the metropolises of contemporary India and Pakistan, Bombay and Karachi. I have selected Bombay and Karachi primarily due to the distinct role they play in their individual countries, as centers of finance and commerce, as lands of opportunity , as well as their prominence during the British Raj, as colonial port cities. I analyze the different themes presented in the works of fiction dedicated to these metropolises, which represent different social, cultural, political and religious aspects of these metropolitan cities. This is essential to understand the experience of modernity in these emerging centers and their subsequent adoption of global or Western mannerisms, as well as the very metropolitan ideals of power, money and success. The works of fiction also reflect the manner in which these South Asian cities imbibe their individual social values and consequently, adhere to tradition despite their global approach and outlook. I focus primarily on how class and community, ethnicity and politics, and love and marriage play out in the novels, to provide a broad representation of contemporary urban life in Bombay and Karachi. Thus, I conclude that a combination of works of fiction dedicated to these cities can in fact represent the lives of the inhabitants to a great extent. The novels together with other non-fictional studies on the cities have enabled me to fashion and represent the experience of modernity in the different spheres of society of urban India and Pakistan: Bombay and Karachi.



Bombay, Karachi, society, fiction